Radioddity GD-73A

July 1st, 2019

The GD-73A (TYT MD-430) is a low powered dual timeslot UHF DMR/FM radio that’s recently been released for the amateur radio use.

I believe that the original purpose of this radio was to fill the Family Radio System or the European 446MHz short range with limited power and a fixed antenna.

However Radioddity are targeting the hotspot roll where you are generally only a few meters away from the hotspot. So it has two power levels, 500mw (low) and 2w (high)

My first impression is that the radio is comfortable in the hand, but has a very light PTT button. So it’s pretty easy to key the radio when you don’t mean to! The battery life is approximately 2 days just receiving and around 8 hours on transmit on high power (2w)

The small form factor is a comfortable size, but that PTT needs to be fixed. The provided programing software is fairly typical for a Chinese built radio, it’s not the best, but it does the job. It lacks any ability to import/export to CSV files like most other radio’s support.

Anna Calvi – Odeon Theatre Hobart

June 16th, 2019

I first discovered Anna on YouTube back in 2012 where she did a series of songs in the “attic sessions” What caught my attention was the way she was playing the guitar that was almost like it was a harp by using a circular motion when strumming the chords. The other thing was the sound produced just using a VOX AC30 and a USA 90’s made Fender Telecaster. It is a clean tone with just a hint of breakup and lots of reverb. I figured that I’d most likely never get the chance to see her live, as living just out of Hobart Tasmania not many of the big names in the music industry actually include Tasmania in their touring schedule. But I was certainly surprised to hear a few months ago that she was to be playing as part of the Dark Mofo (organised by Mona) The evening was awesome! This is her second time in Australia, the first being in 2014.

Nextion 3.5 screen for Hotspots

April 1st, 2019

I’ve used Pi-star now for around a year and a half. The first screen I used with the Zumspot was a 0.96″ OLED screen (I thought it was awesome!) but after a while I started seeing other amateur radio guys were using the Nextion screen/s These are an amazing piece of equipment they run on 5v and have many uses, the main one I’ll be using is the NX4832K035_011 this is the advance type. Basically the only difference between the two (normal & advanced) is the on board memory, RTC and GPIO available for use with external items (not used for MMDVM)

As you can see above there are six screens! I used a sheet of 400x400x8mm polycarbonate (plexiglass) and cut it down to make it match the border (25mm) There is still enough space to get access to the micro SD card for updating the screen code.

Here’s the finished product in place, I’ll need to do a bit of cable management as it’s bit untidy but overall I’m happy with the end result.

Yaesu FTM-7250D

March 1st, 2019

New radio day (well two days ago) I’ve been lucky enough to have been bought (birthday) the Yaesu FTM-7250D to replace the Yaesu FT-90R that has been in the car for almost as long as I’ve owned it! So far I’m impressed with the radio and its operation is almost identical to the Yaesu FT-70D hand-held.

Radio Features:

  • System Fusion-II Compatible
  • Operates Advanced C4FM Digital and Conventional FM modes
  • AMS (Automatic Mode Select) function automatically recognizes the signal as C4FM digital or conventional FM
  • Sophisticated Digital-Group-ID (DG-ID) Operation
  • Digital-Group-ID (DG-ID) Memory Feature : Up to 10 DG-ID pairs with alpha-numeric tags
  • True 50 Watts (VHF and UHF) Stable High-Power Transmitter with FACC
  • * FACC: Funnel Air-Convection Conductor (Wind Tunnel)
  • High Stability ±2.5 ppm TCXO Included
  • 3W Powerful & Clear Audio with Front Speaker
  • AMS with Multi-colored large LED Mode-Indicator Effortless FM and C4FM Operation – 225 Memory Channels with Alpha-numeric tags (maximum 8 characters)
  • Wideband Receive for 108MHz – 579.995MHz (108 – 137MHz: Airband)
  • Weather Broadcast Reception
  • Severe Weather Alert Feature
  • Easily connect with the WIRES-X linking system (Not support operation of WIRES-X Node Station)
  • Keyboard entry of operating frequencies from the microphone – CTCSS and DCS Encode/Decode, with split Tone – Versatile Scan features : VFO scan, Preferential Memory scan, Programmable memory scan and Dual watch

It’s early days, but would I recommend this radio? Yes I would, because for the price ($399AUD) you’re getting a dual band & dual mode (FM & C4FM) radio.

Pi-star Facebook Group & Forum

December 24th, 2018

*** Warning contains strong language and views ***

Pi-star is a great hotspot operating system for the raspberry pi and a few other SoC (System on Chip) that has been embraced to pretty much be the standard for multi mode digital voice. But there’s a very dark side to the small group of people who are the Admins/Moderators for the Facebook group and the Forum. These people are totalitarian and will not take criticism for their actions.

This is a post to the Forum from me complaining about being soft banned from the Facebook group for what all I can assume was to refer a person to a thread on the forum where another person was complaining about his posts to the Facebook group were being deleted and or the comments being switched off. Then the next time I went to check out that forum post it was removed! Ok so I figured that I would start a new thread (picture above) that lasted for about a day and it was deleted.

So I started another thread, oh and you guessed it, deleted!

So again I started yet another thread… Deleted!

Ok so it’s pretty obvious that whoever the admin/moderator that keeps deleting my posts has a problem with my complaint!

So this is the final post on the topic and as of the time of writing the above post was still available… But for how long?

So if anyone else has issues with the pi-star Facebook group or Forum you’re fucked because if you raise the issue you will be deleted by these spineless cunts who clearly believe that they are of a higher value than any one else…

Fuck you!

Edit:

It now appears that I have been banned from the Facebook group as it’s no longer visible from my Facebook account. Also I ended up posting one last post on the forum…

And yup you guessed it… Deleted. Not sure if I’m banned from the forum as I can still view it on Tapatalk.

Baofeng UV5-RX3 From Radioddity

December 17th, 2018

For those familiar with the UV-5xx series radio’s they are targeted for Amateur Radio use (that may change in the future) for both the 2m VHF and 70cm UHF bands however this model also includes the 220MHz 1.5m band (predominately used in the USA)

Supplied items

  • UV-5RX3
  • 1800mAh Li-ion Battery
  • Dual Band Antenna
  • 220MHz Single Band Antenna
  • Desktop Charger Adapter
  • Original Earpiece
  • Wrist Strap
  • Belt Clip
  • User Manual

As there are two antennas supplied you need to ensure that you use the appropriate antenna for the intended frequency otherwise you will damage the radio. As the 220MHz band is not permitted here in Australia my testing for this radio was limited to the 2m & 70cm bands.

Specifications & Functions:

  • Frequency Range: 136-173.975MHz, 220-225MHz, 400-519.975MHz
  • FM Radio: 68-105MHz (RX)
  • Memory Channel: 128
  • Output Power: 5 Watts
  • Tone Scanning: CTCSS, DCS
  • Wide/Narrow Bandwidth Setting
  • Tone Burst
  • DTMF
  • VOX

This radio works well and the build quality is good, although for the Australian market having access to 220MHz is of no benefit as VHF DVBT is primary service and there is no 1.5m band available within Australia.

GA-5S From Radioddity

December 17th, 2018

I was lucky enough to be selected to review the GA-5S dual band FM Radio. I’ve never used or owned any of these entry level Chinese radio’s so I was interested to see how they compare to some other known brands radios!

Unboxing this radio reveals that it comes with…

  • 1 x Radioddity GA-5S
  • 1 x 1800mAh Li-ion Battery
  • 1 x High Gain Antenna
  • 1 x Charging Cradle (with 100~240V Power Adapter)
  • 1 x Belt Clip
  • 1 x Earpiece
  • 1 x Wrist Strap
  • 1 x User Manual

After assembling the radio (antenna & battery) and powered the unit to find that it was programmed with frequencies that are not for general use in Australia, this is not a problem as I’ll be reprogramming this for the 2m and 70cm bands and limiting the receive to the amateur bands only (144-148MHz 430-450MHz) as the ACMA are not to keen on these radios because of how easy it is to use them on frequencies that are not for the general public. Now I’ve not had or used baofeng radio’s before so this is essentially the internals of (from what I have read online) a UV5-R. The supplied software for programming the radio is very basic, but it is compatible with Chirp so you can take advantage of the repeater database and import your local repeaters. At the time I first tried Chirp the support for the GA-5S wasn’t available, but on the second reprogramming I did the latest daily build had included both the GA-5S and the UV5-RX3.

For the price point this radio is targeted for its certainly fine, however I’d possibly not run it on full power for extended periods as the radio will get hot!

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August 14th, 2018

Ten Years with WordPress!

July 4th, 2018

So a thing happened…

It all started from reading Linux magazine that had a feature article on WordPress and well I must liked it cause I’m still using it! Originally I was hosting my own website from home, but after quite a few years I then moved to hosting with Gandi and its lived there ever since… 😀

Zumspot Revival (I was wrong!)

May 23rd, 2018

Ok so I wrote recently that the ZUMspot Pi boards were no longer available from Bruce and I made the mistake of concluding that meant they were no longer available. Tuns out I was wrong! The ZUMspot Pi boards are available in the USA exclusively from HRO (Ham Radio Outlet)

There’s four listing’s when you do a search on their website for “ZUMspot”

So yup, I was wrong! I’m happy to wrong because it means that you can still get yourself a ZUMspot Pi board!

Edit: Updated links to Zumspot products